Published July 11, 2019

In recent weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it has accepted several consolidated DACA related cases for consideration and in October will hear arguments about DACA’s future.

Obama Giveth, Trump Seeks to Taketh Away: To review, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was instituted in 2012 by way of then President Obama’s Executive Order.  Through the DACA program, individuals who arrived in the U.S. while under the age of 16, completed high school here (or equivalent), are without any serious criminal convictions and met other requirements, became eligible to obtain a version of legal status in the form of a renewable Employment Authorization Document with 2 year validity. Since that time approximately 800,000 individuals have benefited from the program, establishing their lives as tax paying members of our society, including thousands who have been able to complete their university education and work in the professions or academia – and all due to DACA.

Since coming into office, President Trump has sought to put an end to DACA, stating that the program constituted an overreach of executive authority, although his own exercise of executive authority while in office has been anything but restrained.  He is even threatening to deport the individuals who have benefited from the program, notwithstanding the fact that the impacted foreign nationals arrived in the U.S. as children and the U.S. is pretty much the only country they have ever known.  In the wake of President Trump’s actions, dozens of federal lawsuits challenging DACA’s termination have been filed and for the time being, only DACA renewals are being accepted and processed by Department of Homeland Security/Citizenship and Immigration Services.  That means, at present, no new, first time DACA applications are being accepted for processing.

For certain DACA is part of a larger political mosaic, and is being used as a political football by players on both sides of the aisle.  For President Trump and his constituents, the only solution to our nation’s undocumented immigrant problem is to commence deportation against all 12 million, including approved DACA applicants.  The fact that all but a small percentage would be eligible for immigration court hearings and have their applications for relief from deportation considered (its own path to legalization), does not change their position – assuming these proponents of mass deportation are even aware of these due process protections.  On the other hand, the Trump administration is on record as stating that he would be in favor of more permanent protections for DACA applicants as long as he got his way in seeking billions of dollars for border security – the latter being seen by Democrats as an absolute waste of resources, a pandering to an angry constituency and part of an illusory bartering tool since such a deal contains not a trace of viability.

Additionally, Democrat initiatives to find a legislative solution have failed to gain traction due to Republican lock step devotion to President Trump’s uncompromising and politically successful stances on immigration related issues.

The road to the Supreme Court accepting the issue for consideration included various lower federal courts across the U.S. being presented with legal challenges to DACA’s termination, with several cases resulting in pro DACA rulings.  The fact that the Supreme Court accepted this case for consideration is a statement in and of itself, and has many people wondering and even worrying, especially DACA proponents.   All eyes will be on the Supreme Court in October, when it will hear oral arguments that will for certain prove to be lively, and hugely consequential for hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals and their loved ones


PUBLISHED July 11, 2019– “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2019, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois